It’s a bit of a frustrating process to get life insurance when you’ve got medical issues. Not huge ones, but chronic ones. It can feel like complete crap calling doctors offices to get diagnosis dates and other details that an underwriter needs for research to determine what an appropriate annual rate will be for someone with your history. Fixating on all of your body’s problems can be a real buzz kill. I understand though. I’m a hot mess on paper.  It’s a risk taking on someone like me. My husband says that my medical history can make me look pretty bad but in person, He’s like “Damn, girl.” I paraphrased him.

I don’t think the average person would listen to my medical history and current conditions and feel like I have been “healed.”

Here it goes….a clep blog version.

I had a benign hip tumor surgically removed in high school. Two reconstructive ACL surgeries in college. Total colectomy with ileo-anal pouch anastomosis the summer following my freshman year in college. Countless failed surgeries for fistula repairs. Guinea pig much? Three different states by three separate surgeons following college. The “best surgeons” in the field. Two of which did unethical things to my body, without my consent.

I have a micro tumor on my pituitary gland that can cause some real problems, despite its itty bitty millimeter size. I’ve got junked-up, scarred lungs that struggle to get mucous out on their own. There’s a disease for that: bronchiectasis. A tricky one to spell. My lungs need a little love from albuterol and the acapella valve from time to time. And no, it doesn’t sound like sweet non-instrumental music. I will take instruments, please, any day of the week. It sounds more like Darth Vader’s wife.

I don’t have my large intestine anymore. Yes, you can live without one. Unlike a lizard’s tail, mine has not magically grown back after being surgically removed for being straight-up diseased. Dead. Unresponsive to meds, beyond resuscitation. I do miss it from time to time, when I’m going to the bathroom ten or so times a day. Especially in the middle of the night during one of those rare good dreams that you want to hop back into. But ughhh, you can’t.

I guess, selfishly, I have hard time spiritually processing things when I hear of people being miraculously or momentarily “healed” or cured. In God’s name. I guess I get a bit pissy and confused because I’ve said about a million prayers. Not just for me. And I’m pretty sure those who love me have said more. It makes me feel pretty damn unimportant. And I think, “why not me?” Or why not the starving kids, abused kids or women being raped? Victims of brutal genocide. Especially the littlest ones. Cancer patients. Or the millions of other afflictions that just flat-out suck much more than mine.

Well, let’s analyze it. I’ve done my fair share of bad stuff. Rebellious stuff. Ungodly stuff. But still, I’ve never wavered in my faith in God. Or his love for me. I love Jesus. I get Him. He gets me. He knows my heart the best. He understands me. He searches me out and always finds me. Wherever I am, be it on the bathroom floor or next to the kitchen sink. In my closet. In a hospital room. In my car. He’s kind of like a crazy never ending Dr. Seuss book. I can’t escape him. He throws a crud-ton of grace down on me. Constantly. And forgives me all the time. I believe this.

I think he welcomes my doubts and fears and all of my hurts too. My humanities. He recognizes the many different kinds of tears that trickle, stream, sneak and flood down my face. Most importantly, he holds me accountable. Picks me up off of the bathroom floor, most times, in the form of my husband. He shows me a glimpse of my potential. He expects me to do more, persevere and grow. Love harder, and never settle for convenience, complacency or boredom. He instills an infinite supply of hope inside my heart. My mind. And my soul.

I’ve actually got an ongoing list of questions for God to answer. Not that God needs my list. But I do. One day, I hope he will answer all of my random ones, like “what’s up with moths eating all of our sweaters”, or “Why I am I wide awake after having sex but my husband falls into a coma-like sleep state?” There are the deeper, more complicated questions too, like “why do kids have to die? Ever.” Or “why did soooooo many of my surgeries fail?”

I often start deep sea thinking and praying like I do. When I’m vacuuming. Or driving. Or in the shower. I’m typically trying to work things out with God. Let it all out. Like a true intro-extrovert. Or maybe it’s God trying to soften my heart and strengthen my faith, despite human beings’ attempts to destroy it. I’m attempting to move outside of the anger. The sadness or resentment. And the unfairness and the hurt. Somehow, I’ve got to see through it, past it, over it or under it. But it’s a stumbling feeling. Awkward like my feet have fallen asleep. I can’t move. I’ve got to shake them out, wake them up, even perhaps crawl on to reach the hope.

The good.

The beautiful.

It’s there. I know it. It can be sneaky. Even hidden. But it’s always truly present. And although I may not be Steve Martin in “Leap of Faith” kind of healed, I think I’ve been freed of a lot of suffocating, life-stealing things.

I’ve been freed from the illusion of perfection. Nothing and nobody is perfect. My body will never be perfect. Ever. In a ton of ways. I will always have big feet, a big nose, freckles, and scars. A lot of scars. And if I want to be naked, totally naked, I will always look down and see the bright red flesh, the part of my small intestine that’s been pulled from the inside out of my lower abdomen. To save my life. It won’t go away. Ever. No matter how many prayers I could say for the regeneration of my colon, it’s not happening. Save your breath.

My diseased body will always present obstacles and physical limits. I’ve come to terms with this over the years. It’s hard to be different, but I am. I think we all are. I have had to worry about deep things most women don’t have to. And perhaps may never ever think about, especially not on a daily basis.

It’s not that I believe that God doesn’t possess the power to do mind blowing miraculous things. He could regenerate a healthy colon for me if he wanted to. Or heal my scarred lungs. But there’s bigger more important lessons I’ve learned through the pain, frustration, disappointments and failures. I believe he’s surrounded me with people who tell me they love me, despite my missing parts. So, I pray instead for God to change my thinking, change my eyes to more readily see those around me and make me proud of who I am and all that I’ve overcome. Through Him. Proud, not ashamed. I pray that God uses me and my experiences to encourage others in an honest, transparent and freeing way. And guess what? Miraculously, these prayers have been answered. Time and time again.

I’ve been truly honored and humbled and a little overwhelmed by the love. I’ve been grateful that friends will openly share their struggles and experiences with me too. The other day, one of my friends confided in me telling me that she pooped her pants In the night and I told her “That’s not a big deal. So what? You know how many times and places I’ve shit my pants?” She told me that she knew I would be a safe person to tell, that I wouldn’t judge her. (I would only blog about her. With her permission.)

It feels a lot better knowing that it’s ok to shit your pants. That somebody else has done it too, you know? I’m truly grateful for all of the hard things that I’ve felt in my life(that’s what she said…I couldn’t help it) They’ve given me the ability to truly feel and understand a little bit more of what others may be going through. Pain is pain. Physical, mental or emotional. Isolation is isolation. And loneliness is loneliness. Don’t even get me started on shame.

God has strangely and miraculously shown me and taught me so many more meaningful lessons through the awful and painful parts of my life than I’ve ever learned through the blue skies and rainbows. I feel like through all of the hard times, I’ve been humbled, dependent, and gratefully aware of what’s most important in life. I get this awesome privilege of experiencing the beautiful parts at an insanely heightened level. I constantly encounter these most inspiring, sacrificing, loving, and genuine people. The ones that doubt and fear, laugh and love radically, outside the norm. I get to meet people that don’t shy away from the hard places, the ones who put themselves out there knowing they will be affected, mocked, bruised, and knocked down a little or a lot by life’s hurts. And they will be changed. Transformed in a caterpillar to a butterfly kind of way. Once you grow wings, you don’t want to go back to squirming around on a tree branch.

I’ve been picked up by these best kinds of people time and time again. They matter the most. And they are who I want my kids to be like when they grow up.

They may or may not know it, but they are real-life people living out the type of love Jesus talked about. The sacrificial. Seemingly crazy. Hard. Relentless. Inconvenient. Inclusive. Sacred. Beautiful love. The kind of love that never, ever fails. His love never fails.

If I have had to experience hurt and pain to be hyper sensitive to the beauty and love that exist despite it, I will get up and experience it all over again. That’s how I’ve been healed.

I’ve been released. I’ve been freed.

You don’t need to ever pity me. I’ve come a long way in my journey. And you don’t need to feel sorry for me either, okay? Unless you feel sorry for butterflies too.

Michael Phelps’ Mom



Congratulations, Michael Phelps’ mom. You can officially retire. You can finally rest easy knowing that your work is done. You are never going to have to run out to Target again to buy your son a new pair of goggles. You know, to replace the nine millionth pair of goggles that have broken, leaked, or that your son has lost. Yet, somehow, it’s all your fault. How could you have ever expected your most decorated Olympic swimming son to jump into a pool of chlorinated water without protecting his precious abs? I mean eyes. His eyes. With a pair of Speedo goggles.

I’ve watched the Olympics differently this go around. I’ve looked on as a mother. I’ve bitten off nails. I’ve jumped off the couch and stared at the screen, anticipating the moments where your son adjusts, then readjusts his goggles. I’ve never doubted his swimming talents. We’ve all been mesmerized by his dolphin-like ability to glide in and out of the water. So beautifully. Like some sort of waterproof robot. A robot that desperately needs those Speedo goggles to stay in place.

That’s where you and I share a special bond, Michael Phelps’ mom. I have three sons that swim too. Not quite at the same level as your son. Nonetheless, they need their goggles just like your son. When it’s time to jump in the pool, the pressure is on. It’s all on me. I’m sure you remember the days. I’m there semi-willing to adjust. Readjust, then SNAP, break the crap out of their cheap ass goggles. Because let’s face it, Michael Phelps’ mom, my son’s Speedo goggles are not like your son’s. The Target employee kindly gave me the cartwheel discount for my sons’ goggles, but it was all downhill from that point on.

A casual day at the pool turned into a sad broken goggle fest. Come on, Speedo, for crying outloud…we can’t all be Michael Phelps! Why, oh why must non-Olympian kids risk getting red, itchy eyes accompanied by all the tears and the repeated exclamations, “MY EYES. MY EYES. Mommy, my eyes hurt SOOOO bad.”

“Well, boys, that’s because Michael Phelps’ mom bought all of the good googles.”

I’m sorry, Michael Phelps’ mom. My irrational response never works to soothe their zombie eyes. But somehow it makes me feel like a better mom in the heat of the moment.

“Cheer up, kids. Wasn’t it cool how he won all of those gold medals? That’s because Speedo sold all of their cheap and poorly made goggles to kids like you so they could spend all of their time working on Michael Phelps’s precious golden Olympic medal googles.”

There. There.

So, now that your son is done swimming and your grandson will surely never so much as dip a toe in a chorinated pool, because well, that’s a lot of pressure being Michael Phelps’ son, can you spare a few pairs of the good Speedo goggles to a fellow mom? I promise I won’t sell them on eBay.

And if I did, it would only be to buy more cheap ass goggles. From Target.

Fortune Non-Business Cards


I reached into the right pocket of my jeans, the pocket that I thought I had placed two wadded up bills in. I borrowed some cash from my husband for parking. It turned out that I didn’t need it. I looked down. I accidentally had pulled out the twenty dollar bill. I knew that it was a lot of money. A grueling hour of work. An hour exposed to hard stuff or even laughter. An hour of time spent away from my family.

The homeless man told me five different stories in two short minutes. He couldn’t get into the shelter. It was full. He needed to get to St. Louis. Somebody stole his bag. He needed a blanket. He was hungry.

I handed him the twenty dollar bill. Not because I believed his stories. Not because I thought he would go buy a decent amount of food with it. But because I stood there looking at him and I felt sorry for him. For his lies or for his truths. For what I could see and for all that I couldn’t. He asked me what my name was. I told him. I asked him his. He thanked me. I thanked him.

I regret not giving him one of my new non-business cards.

I really don’t like flinging myself into uncomfortable situations. With new faces, often the kind with a lot of make-up on. Perhaps trying to elbow in and impress people or be somebody that maybe they are. Or maybe they are not. I hate pretending to be somebody that I am not. I’m just no good at it. I’m better at saying inappropriate things at the least appropriate time.

So, as I entered the room by myself, I asked the bartender for a beer. Yep, just in the bottle. That way you don’t have to wash a glass on my accord. Next, I walked over and put some food on my plate. As I awkwardly held my drink in my large hands, I almost dropped my beer and my plate. An employee watching the appetizer table walked up and asked me if he could hold it, I said, “Yes. Thank you.” I proceeded to tell him about the jar of spaghetti sauce that I had dropped and broke in Target a couple of weeks ago. I thought I didn’t need a basket. Or a cart. See, I learned from my mistake. He and I began talking about how hard it is to keep milk in the house. I learned all about this strange non-powdered, unevaporated milk that has a long shelf life and “really tastes just like milk.”

I thought I should explore the place. I walked outside and looked at the Kansas City skyline. With my beer and my tiny sandwich. And my cookie.

I reassured myself that even if I gave the homeless man an hour of work in the form of a twenty dollar bill and let somebody help me while learning about this new milk that I could call my evening a success. Honestly, I had wanted to park my car downtown, put a few quarters in the parking meter and sit there while I finished reading my book. But I didn’t. I just couldn’t.

I walked inside. Running late. As I am always. I went to the event with nobody there that I truly knew. I purposely put myself in an uncomfortable position. Was it a successful night? Who knows. But I did it. I won a door prize, most likely for being so late that my name was on the top. Little did that door prize know that it positively reinforced my future tardiness.

I decided I just can’t give out non-business cards about my blog, unless they maybe have a fortune on them or something else helpful. Maybe a measurement converter like how many ounces are in a cup. That seems dumb. Maybe a useless fact like, “did you know that you can find out the sex of a guinea pig by pushing on its belly?” Beware, a tiny penis may pop out though. And no, I just heard. I haven’t tried it. I should probably research some other useless facts.

Speaking of business cards, one time I was at a concert and a woman complimented me on something, I think my really high heeled shoes. She then proceeded to hand me her business card and tell me about some skincare line or something that she was selling. Keep in mind, I didn’t know her. Apparently, upon meeting me, my face bothered her enough to want to change it. With some products. It was probably my freckles. Which I happen to purposely not cover up. Sadly, she abruptly had to leave after she jammed her foot in my door because Rick Springfield had taken off his shirt and she wanted to go try and touch his sweaty middle-aged body. Even though she had done it before at another concert and her husband had been mad about it. Really. This is a true story. This is actually a true story of how not to give someone your business card.

I don’t know that giving my non-business card to a homeless man would have been any better. He probably wouldn’t be able to access my blog. My card would have probably ended up littering the downtown sidewalk, but I’m sure, like me, he has had something burn somewhere before. Perhaps in his mind, in his heart or in his pants. Maybe the food or alcohol he went to purchase would burn his throat and help him remember and feel alive, like he mattered. Like he was important. I know it may have been more wise to have given him food or a blanket or something besides cash, but I didn’t have anything else except my jacket that would have been too small for him. And I really do like that jacket.

Later on, when I got home, I found the dollar bill in my other jean pocket. The left side, the one I didn’t reach into. Maybe the homeless man needed that twenty dollar bill more than me. Actually, my husband since he loaned it to me. Or maybe he just needed someone to look him in the eye and talk with him for a few minutes. Just like I did that night.

Guest Post: “My Everything”

My friend, Taisha, and I share many similarities. Our friendship goes way back, almost twenty years. We played basketball together in college. Back then, we spent hours hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms. We both love laughing, dancing, and meeting new people. As we moved out of the dorms and years have flown by, we have become  mothers. We now share many of the universal thoughts and feelings that accompany motherhood. We each have three sons and love them with an overwhelming, protective, intense and unconditional love. We have countless hopes and aspirations for our sons. And we also have worries and fears related to our sons’ futures. My fears as a mother of three white sons are not the same as my friend, Taisha’s. This reality sickens, saddens, and infuriates me. I asked Taisha if she would share her thoughts and perspective as a mother of three black sons. She graciously accepted. I’m honored to have my dear friend as a contributor to my blog’s first guest post. -Amelia


In the wake of senseless violence, many injustices, and racial tension at an all time high, I pray and I plead to the Lord. I pray my sons and/or loved ones NEVER become a hash tag, the face on a t-shirt, or a reason to protest in this world!! I just can’t!!

I am an African-American, proud mother of three black sons. My sons are Tavares (15), Trevon (8) and Trenton (6 years old). They are my heart, my love, my world, my joy, and absolutely my everything.

I will focus on my oldest son, Tavares. I’m sitting down on the couch watching t.v., I get a tap on my shoulder. “Mom, ma, mommy, mama, mommia, mom, mom, mom.” Here we go, the scene from Family Guy!! I turn around and he says hello. Not just a regular hello, an Adele hello,

“Hello, It’s me!”

I have to listen to him sing this song until the beginning of the second verse, where I can usually cut him off. Then, he sits on the floor in front of me so I can twist and play with his hair. Most of the time, you can see him doing the latest dance moves to the latest songs with the biggest grin on his face. Although a typical teen, Tavares stands at 6’5″ and is still growing. He loves basketball and is a member of the Varsity basketball team. He aspires to play college basketball at Auburn University. He loves nature and farming. Although he is an upcoming Junior in high school, he is also a Sophomore in college as a dual enrollment student. At his high school graduation, he will receive an associate degree in Agri-Science.  He participates in many school programs, clubs, and associations. He plays trumpet for the marching band and French horn for the concert band. At church, he is a member of the junior usher ministry and a member of the junior choir. He loves God, church, and his community. This is not the totality of my son but a glimpse of his many awesome attributes!!

It scares me that some portions of society feel fear, anger, and violence, or see a thug, a menace to society, an inferior being, without even knowing him. Every person has a story.

Every and any mother has a hope for her child to have the opportunity to live and fulfill the life God has for them. I just want Tavares to have that opportunity. My prayer is that hate doesn’t win, if he is ever in the face of hate. No one, I mean absolutely no one, has the right to take his life or that potential from the world.

Someone will take one look at him and assimilate every stereotype that may or may not be applicable to him. Someone will validate their own negative experience and paint him with the same broad brush. Someone may look at him with fear embedded from the perpetual, violent images of black boys his age, and not from his/her personal experience. Someone will never give him the compassion of humanity because of the pigmentation and hue of his skin. Someone will base their dialogue to remain true for all people and hate my son just because. My fear remains that someone could possibly rob my heart, my love, my world, my joy, and absolutely, my everything’s life, only to memorialize it with a hash tag, t- shirt, or protest in this world. I just can’t!


5 AM Birds


Don’t get me wrong, I do love the birds, but just not at five in the morning. What are they doing jabbering away so much this early? It’s still dark outside. They’re persistent little pip squeaks. Maybe they’re begging for the sun to come out so they can eat their breakfast with the light on. They’re only bothering me because they highlight the fact that I can’t sleep. My guts hurt. And I can’t do much, but think and think because everyone’s asleep in my house.

I can’t stop worrying about how I need to get so many things done. Just in case I have to go to the hospital. Then, I start crying in the bed. Lying on my side to help with the cramping. Shhh. My quiet left-sided tears travel over the bridge of my nose and join up to make a puddle in my right eye. I don’t want to go to the hospital. There’s never a good time.

My four year old just woke up saying,


So, I tip-toed into his room to snuggle him back to bed. I can’t do this when I’m in the hospital.

Yesterday, my bigger boys and sweet niece begged me to play “Monster” outside, a game where I chase them around the yard. I did it even though I was hurting and my mom told me to stop playing. Because I knew I would be bummed if I said no and then ended up in the hospital, stuck in a drab room, unable to chase them around in the grass. I also jumped into the freezing cold pool. That’s what this disease does to me. It makes me overthink things sometimes. It makes me not want to miss out on or regret an opportunity gently tapping or banging on my door. I hate it sometimes. But I guess it makes me different. In a good way.

I watched a video of our Florida trip tonight. My husband put it together using photos and video clips of our boys. It’s beautiful. My boys. The ocean. Breathtakingly gorgeous. Truly. I couldn’t believe how much my sweet beach loving boys have grown in a few short years. Time constantly moves on, whether we acknowledge or accept it or not.

I will make it through this phase of my disease acting up. I know it. God always carries me though. I’m not strong enough on my own to make it through the pain, all of the unknowns, and let-downs, that’s for sure. He also gives me people that love me in crazy, feel-good-despite-the-yuck ways and he steadily holds my head to focus in their direction to help me see them.

I’m impatient, I just want to feel better. Now. Right now. And I want to make sure and remind my future healthy self to remember this unprompted five am wake up call.

“Dear Future Amelia,

Be grateful of your sleeping, your eating, your dish loading (meh) and your playing. Be grateful for each day, especially those awesome moments, because they’re all a gift, even if it was a crappy day in the grand scheme of days. You got one more. Embrace the love and the life that surrounds you, even if it’s those hyper morning birds. They can’t help it if they don’t like eating in the dark…


Presently Flared up Amelia”